The Happiness Club in SF

When I visited San Francisco, I was lucky to meet with Dr. Aymee Coget, who is the Sustainable happiness expert, CEO of American Happiness Association and the founder of The Happiness Club in SF.Aymee Coget

Marina: How did you get into happiness field?

Dr. Aymee: In 1996 I asked myself a question about what I want to do in life, what is my strength, what puts smile on my face, what gives me endless energy and makes me get up every day. I was born a happy person; I was raised in loving supportive environment. So I came to this place knowing that I want to help people have happier lives.

Marina: How did you do that?

Dr. Aymee: I focused on happiness at work: not everyone loves it. I studied organization psychology and was the first happiness coordinator on the trading floor for Wells Fargo back then. There was a lack of happiness on the floor and too much stress. Happiness coordinator was an unofficial title, I was hired in HR but they liked my specialty. I have a BA in industrial and organization psychology and PhD with emphasis in leadership and positive psychology.

Marina: What changed in your career over the years?

Dr. Aymee: In 2003 I switched focus from corporation to the individuals, couples and consulting. Hilton hired me to consult on travel and happiness. I became the CEO of American happiness organization. One of the happiness tips about traveling: to feel happier make several shorter trips instead of one long trip during the year. I give speeches and consult. I recently was at the event for 60 judges and taught them how to use positive psychology for stress relief.

Marina: How do you teach happiness?

Dr. Aymee: Teaching happiness is harder than knowing how to be happy. My program called The Happiness Makeover that consists of 5 steps that you complete by doing exercises. There is a progress tracker sheet so that you know where you are heading through the course. Based on Barbara Frederickson work, I created a system to expand positive experiences in someone’s life. My audio program How To Be Happy is the latest and greatest version of the program and it comes with protocol to keep progress too. You can also try home study E-course How to be happy: Self-help guide.

Marina: How long is the program?

Dr. Aymee: It is usually a 3 months program, but if you do it on your own, you can do activities at your own pace. If you do the course with me I will help with the process along the way.

Dr. Aymee: I’m also working on a book Sustainable happiness in 5 steps. Sustainable happiness is a part of positive psychology, which is my specialty and my calling. Now I’m working with San Francisco State on brain neuro imaging to see results before my happiness activities course and after.

Marina: What are main mistakes people make in the realm of happiness?

Dr. Aymee: People who project happiness through achieving things in the future are usually unhappy within 3 months of achieving what they wanted because of hedonic treadmill… In our achievement based culture it is hard to be happy, if you are not doing something. You gotta be achieving something all the time. We always want to be happier than before… But true happiness comes from within and doesn’t depend on external factors.

Marina: Do you think that happiness is a popular subject nowadays?

Dr. Aymee: Happiness movement and especially sustainable happiness is on the rise. World map of happiness was printed in 2006 and the world happiness index is 67%. Bhutan that started to measure Gross happiness product has longevity and productivity increase… Whole countries are now looking into national and organizational happiness, ex. Germany.

Marina: What about our country?

Dr. Aymee: There are many factors involved. On macro level, billions of dollars are spent covering depression disability. If we apply just some part of that money to create happiness programs at work, we will be doing ourselves a favor… On the individual level everyone has to understand that if you are unhappy – you will be unhappy everywhere, so you should make it your priority to get better. But sometimes people make easy choices. Shock therapy instead of getting motivated to learn happiness. Another way in our quick gratification culture is to put your responsibility on something other yourself, like medication. Statistically, less than 25% of depression cases get treated well in the United States.

Marina: Can people be on antidepressants and still get the benefits of your program?

Dr. Aymee: Of course. But even before getting on antidepressants, make right decisions: do you want to gain weight, never sleep again and lose your sex drive or learn to be happy? There are various side effects with antidepressants, but they do help function better in the beginning.

Marina: What do you think of volunteering?

Dr. Aymee: It is part of my program. Volunteering helps create meaning/purpose in life. What is the change you want to see in the world? Create your happy profession workbook is about leadership, positive psychology and self-reflective process. After you do the test, it spits out one word which is a recommendation on your happy profession. This test was created by 5 therapists.

Marina: Do you have more tips on happiness?

Dr. Aymee: Use positive psychology daily and you will feel better… Follow your heart, not your brain! In my program people find how to listen to their hearts and follow their own path…

If you want to try one of Aymee’s online products, feel free to use code Answer to get 25% discount.

Read more about Dr. Aymee, see the NYTimes article.

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